Medicine: Why It's So Hard to Quit Smoking

A new report declares that tobacco, like heroin, is addictive

Anyone who has ever tried to give up smoking cigarettes knows the meaning of being hooked. Even those who succeed in quitting for the first time suffer the same 75% relapse rate as recovering alcoholics and heroin addicts. Last week the U.S. Surgeon General made official what everyone has recognized for a long time: tobacco, like cocaine or heroin, is addictive. In a no-holds-barred, 618-page report, the forthright C. Everett Koop not only proclaimed that "cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting" but also urged that they should be treated with the same caution as illegal street narcotics.

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